With San Diego residents steaming over soaring electricity bills, California Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer said Wednesday he will investigate the recent power price spikes.
"We are investigating decisions that led up to the current rate increase in San Diego. Obviously if any individual or company has acted illegally I intend to identify and punish those behaviors," Lockyer told Reuters.
"San Diegans urgently need short-term relief from skyrocketing electricity bills. Everyone in California needs a better long-term deal on electricity rates. The Department of Justice is going to do everything we can to assist in those goals," he said.
Electricity bills in San Diego have doubled this summer with customers of Sempra Energy subsidiary San Diego Gas and Electric the first in the U.S. to be exposed to free market rates without a safety net.
The increase, which followed a jump in wholesale prices to record levels during a June heat wave, has sparked an outcry in a city with many pensioners.
Earlier Wednesday the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission announced an inquiry on a nationwide scale into whether there was competition in bulk power markets, and if not, what remedies are needed.